Dendritic Cell (DC) therapy represents a promising immunotherapeutic approach for the treatment of cancer. The beauty of DC therapy is that it exploits the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. We were amongst the first (since 1997) investigating the potency of this approach, where DC were isolated or grown from immune cells isolated from the blood of a cancer patient. Within specialized cleanrooms, personalized DC vaccines are prepared by activating DC and loading them with tumor antigens. Subsequently, patients are vaccinated. For more details on the DC vaccination procedure see this movie. So far, we have mainly focused on melanoma, a cancer of the pigmented cells of the skin. We have treated more than 350 patients until now and observed that DC vaccination is well tolerated with minimal side effects. In some patients we have seen remarkable and long lasting remissions. We constantly improve our vaccines to reach even better clinical results.
Team members clinical trials:
Technicians: Annemiek de Boer, Kevin Bos, Tjitske Duiveman-de Boer, Tom van Oorschot, Jeanette Pots, Mandy van de Rakt, Nicole Scharenborg
Physicians: Jeroen Creemers, Harm Westdorp
Trial manager, Research nurse: Simone Hins-de Bree
Proces operator: Gerty Schreibelt
In 2016 I started at the Tumor Immunology Lab as a technician after obtaining my BSc at the HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen.
Here at the TIL I have learned a great deal about flow cytometry, cleanroom technology and GMP regulation, and I have been able to work together with multiple different departments at the Radboudumc. With our group we focus on all aspects related to clinical trials, and it is amazing how we as department are able to translate the research we do in the laboratory to applications in the clinic to help patients.
Currently I am involved in setting up qualification documentation, coordination of cleanroom qualification and maintenance, hands-on work in the cleanroom as an operator to produce DC and nanoparticle products, quality control of products, as well as research in the lab.
Outside of work I enjoy music and concerts, the Efteling (obviously), forging and building stuff out of all kinds of materials, being outside and having nice food and drinks.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Medical Biology and a Master’s degree in Medicine, I started in 2017 as a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Tumor Immunology. In the groups of Johannes Textor and Jolanda de Vries, I have been focusing on translational projects within the clinical development pipeline of immuno-oncology (I-O) therapies. Strongly in favor of bridging the gap between preclinical research and clinical benefits for patients, my research interests range from the development – via the execution and analysis – to the improvement of (I-O) clinical trials in a timely and scientifically sound manner. The current progress in the field is truly astonishing!
Specifically, I have worked/am working on:
- A clinical trial protocol for PRECIOUS-01: an immunomodulatory nanoparticle that simultaneously directs and augments a tumor-specific immune response.
- The execution and analysis of cellular immunotherapy clinical trials in patients with prostate cancer and melanoma.
- The use of computational modeling approaches to gain insight into cancer-immune dynamics and their consequences for designing I-O clinical trials.
Tjitske Duiveman – de Boer
Before I started working at Tumor Immunology, I worked on mycobacterial infections, like leprosy and tuberculosis, in the group of Prof. Tom Ottenhoff at the Leiden University Medical Center. I have been working on projects with patients with a defect in the type 1 cytokine receptors, and also on projects with macrophages, and regulatory T cells.
In 2007 I started working at Tumor Immunology. I am a part of the ‘patient’ group working on Clinical trials with DC vaccinations. In the years my work has shifted from basic research and Clinical trials to Clinical trials only, but always with lots of flow cytometry. I really love flow cytometry! My job is quite diverse with practical work in the clean room, and in the main lab, writing to prepare for validations (process and quality control testing), finishing up the validations, and besides my own flow cytometry experiments, I also help others with flow cytometry.
Outside the lab I like making our old house a better place, working in the garden, reading a book, and being creative, like painting, and doing crochet.
Tom van Oorschot
Since 2013 I am joining the department of Tumor Immunology and I am part of the ‘patient group’. Together with my colleagues we perform clinical trials with DC vaccinations and particles.
Besides these tasks I am responsible for the flowcytometers on our department and recently I started a project for the coming 3 years with Friesland Campina.
Outside the lab I love to go on adventure preferably with a race or mountainbike.
Jeanette Pots obtained her BSc degree in Biology and Medical Laboratory research at Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Enschede and her MSc degree in Biology at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2006. During her master internship, she became fascinated by immunology and cancer. During her first job as research technician at the department of Experimental Haematology, Leiden University Medical Center, she worked on a project focusing on regulatory T cells and acute myeloid leukaemia. In 2009, she joined the department of Tumor Immunology in the group of Prof. Dr. Jolanda de Vries, and combined her GMP experience with her interest for dendritic cell therapy in cancer patients. Currently, she works on projects focusing on experimental treatments with dendritic cells or immunomodulatory nanomedicines. Her goal has always been a job where she could combine doing research with training students. Therefore, she took the opportunity, after completing her post-graduate course Didactics in higher education at HAN, to teach and support bachelor students biomedical sciences and medicine at the Radboudumc in getting a solid basis for their future careers. In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys playing volleyball, spending time with family and friends and enjoying nature and traveling.
Mandy van de Rakt
After my study HLO-microbiology, I worked at ErasmusMC and UMCUtrecht. In 2004 I started working at TIL. I’m working as a technician in the patient group. We’re working in the cleanroom to make DC-vaccines for patients. In addition to being a technician I am also a quality assurance engineer and PAM.
Outside of the lab I like to work in our garden, vegetable garden and take care of our ponies. And to keep in shape I run in our green environment.
My name is Nicole Scharenborg, since 1997 I have been working as an technician in the Tumor Immunology department. I work on clinical trails here, which I still enjoy doing. In addition to working as an operator in the cleanroom, I also do a part of the coordination. Outside of work I really love to change things about the interior of my house and I also play volleyball, boxing, skating and hiking.
Former Team members:
Carlijn Popelier (technician)
Team members translational research:
PhD students: Asima Abidi, Johanna Bödder, Iris van der Hoorn, Jelena Meek
Postdocs: Estel Collado Camps, Mark Gorris
Asima is a PhD researcher working on the immune responses following dendritic cell vaccination of a cancer predisposing disorder called Lynch Syndrome. She started her PhD in 2019 after completing her MSc degree with distinction at the University of Nottingham in Cancer Immunology and Biotechnology in 2018 where she worked on the prognostic immune markers in ductal carcinoma in-situ of the breast. She currently works on assessing functionality of patient T cells and has recently started T cell receptor sequencing to investigate common motifs in T cell receptors of neoantigen specific T cells. Outside the lab, Asima enjoys swimming, reading historical fiction and playing board games.
Johanna obtained her Master’s degree in Biomedical Science at Maastricht University in 2019, specializing in Inflammation and Pathophysiology. She discovered her passion for cancer immunotherapy during her Bachelor internship in the Department of Immunology in Tübingen, Germany. Following her passion, Johanna joined Prof. Jolanda de Vries’ group for her Master thesis on dendritic cells and tumor escape mechanisms. Her Ph.D. project is part of the DC4Balance consortium and Johanna aims to develop polymeric nanoparticles to modulate dendritic cells.
Estel Collado Camps
Estel holds an MSc. In Molecular Mechanisms of Disease from Radboud University Nijmegen and a BSc. in Human Biology from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. In 2022 she obtained her PhD in targeted molecular imaging and therapy, performed at the departments of Biochemistry and of Nuclear Medicine of the Radboudumc in Nijmegen. She recently joined the group of Jolanda de Vries, bringing two passions together: understanding more about how to cure cancer, and getting new insights into the complexity of the immune system. As a postdoctoral researcher, Estel is currently focussing on the immune profiling of different kinds of patients. This will provide more information on how different immune systems respond differently to cancer and/or cancer therapy.
Mark is a postdoctoral researcher working on the characterization of the immune cell landscape of tumors to find biomarkers that may predict response to immunotherapy in the group of Jolanda de Vries and Carl Figdor. His work focuses on the development of multicolour immunohistochemistry panels to map different kinds of immune cells. Mark received a MSc degree in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease from Radboud University Nijmegen and a BASc degree in Life Sciences from HAN University of Applied Sciences. During his studies he conducted several internships at Radboudumc and Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Nijmegen, the Netherlands as well as institutes abroad including University College Londen, London, UK and Salk Institute for Biological Life Sciences, La Jolla, USA.
Iris van der Hoorn
Iris obtained her Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leiden in 2020. During her Bachelor internship she discovered her interest in Immunology by studying allogeneic T cells in chronic renal rejection at the LUMC. After doing an internship more focused on oncology at the VUmc Amsterdam in which she studied the role of miRNA-9 in cervical cancer, she discovered that the combination of oncology and immunology fascinated her most! For this reason, Iris followed an additional course in tumor immunology at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), combined with an additional internship to further hone her technical skills. Back in the Netherlands, Iris wrote her master thesis at the Medical Oncology group of the LUMC on myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in cervical cancer patients. Iris started her PhD in 2020 in a combined project of tumor immunology and pulmonary diseases. In this project she studies Dendritic cells (DCs) in the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) environment. In her free time, Iris enjoys being outdoors, CrossFit, cooking and baking.
Jelena is a PhD candidate investigating the interplay between tumor and immune cells in several gynaecological cancers and breast cancer. After finishing the art academy at Artez in 2011, she decided to follow her scientific passion and received a BSc in Biomedical Sciences followed by a cum laude MSc degree in Moleceular Mechanisms of Disease from the Radboud University of Nijmegen. Following her masters she started in April 2022 in the group of Jolanda de Vries.